When one hears the words "classic cocktails," martinis and Manhattans instantly come to mind. But did you know that champagne has its own signature preparation that dates back to the mid-1800s? It's a simple, but delightful combination of sugar, bitters, and sparkling wine. If making this drink to celebrate the New Year, be sure to select a good quality bubbly. It's not like a mimosa where the flavor of the sparkler will be overshadowed by orange juice; in the champagne cocktail, the bubbly is enhanced by the bitters and sugar. Read more to learn the easy technique.
Although the traditional white clam chowder has origins in New England, the hearty soup is enjoyed throughout the entire United States — especially in San Francisco where it's commonly served in sourdough bread bowls. Since I grew up eating the hearty and creamy soup, I find it incredibly tasty and absolutely comforting. A combination of bacon, potatoes, clams, and milk, it's the perfect one-pot meal for a cold and stormy evening. A cream-based soup isn't the healthiest of dishes, but with a side of mixed greens, it makes for an informal celebratory meal. For my favorite recipe, keep reading.
Whether it's custard that won't set or brittle fleur de sel caramels, we've all had failed cooking attempts. But when disaster strikes while closely following a recipe, it poses the question: Whose recipes can be trusted? And whose cannot? Most religious recipe followers seem to have culinary experts they've come to trust. For example, I find it hard to pick on anything by famed perfectionist Thomas Keller. Same with any cookbook that's been tested over and over again, like those from the late Sheila Lukins. And I've never been able to find fault in a recipe from Tyler Florence or Ina Garten. Whose recipes have you counted on time and time again?
In sad news, food legend Sheila Lukins, the author of such famed tomes as The New Basics and The Silver Palate Cookbook, passed away Sunday at her home in Manhattan after a three-month fight with brain cancer.
Lukins was credited with broadening the taste buds of American cooks. At a time when canned cream soups and fussy French recipes were the rage, she made dishes like gazpacho and Indonesian lamb stew accessible to home chefs. In 1977, she opened the Silver Palate food shop, and five years later, the first of four Silver Palate cookbooks followed.
Most recently, Lukins penned Ten: All the Foods We Love and Ten Recipes For Each, which combined her expertise with 32 chapters on her favorite foods, with 10 recipes for each. When we sat down to breakfast with her not too long ago, she spoke about her rigorous recipe-testing process, the importance of reading recipes thoroughly, and eating seasonally.
Our thoughts are with Sheila's family and friends during this difficult time.
Photo: Francesco Scavullo
Now that it's Summer, all the attention has been turned to typical warm-weather fare, like barbecue and burgers. But don't discount fresh seafood dishes as wonderful additions to any backyard feast. Items like ceviche and shrimp rémoulade will help break up monotony at the appetizer table — as will an exotic, indulgent seafood cocktail.
Have limited time? Start with shellfish that's conveniently already cooked, and you'll have a stunning single-serving appetizer in a matter of minutes. If you've got more time and skill, purchase raw seafood and prepare a classic Latin seafood dish from scratch for much less. To make either seafood cocktail, read more
Sheila Lukins is one of America's most prolific cookbook authors. More than 25 years ago, she published The Silver Palate Cookbook, which introduced the boomer generation to upscale at-home cuisine. In addition to publishing other blockbuster cookbooks, Lukins has edited the food pages of Parade magazine for over 20 years.
I had a chance to enjoy breakfast with Sheila on a sunny Saturday morning, while she was on tour for Ten, her latest (and seventh!) cookbook. Over coffee, she offered her best tips for home cooks, and talked about the ever-so-controversial seasonality issue. To see more of what she had to say, read more
On Tuesday, I revealed what Barack Obama would be eating for his last supper before the big day. Many of you were impressed by the elegant-sounding menu — but in particular, you were dreaming of the dessert, a warm sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream.
Our stars must be aligned: for my favorite uncle's birthday last weekend, I made this dream of a cake from a recipe in Sheila Lukins's stellar new book, Ten. In case you didn't know, sticky toffee pudding isn't actually a pudding. Rather, it's a traditional British dessert that's made with date-flavored sponge cake and drenched in a toffee sauce. With its moist cake and gooey, syrupy caramelized sauce, this dessert is bound to catch on in the United States. To make this simple cake for yourself, read more
Sheila Lukins, food editor for Parade magazine and author of the The New Basics and The Silver Palate Cookbook, is known for her all-encompassing books, which are packed with reliable recipes for traditional American fare. Her seventh recipe collection, entitled Ten: All the Foods We Love and Ten Recipes For Each ($19.95), combines cooking expertise with an unconventional format: 32 chapters on her favorite foods, with 10 recipes for each. See what I thought of it when you read more
When I was trying to determine which cookbook was my favorite - for our current summer reading challenge - The New Basics by Sheila Lukins & Julee Russo, came in at a close second. What I love about this cookbook is that it covers everything from appetizers and cocktails to sauces and desserts. This cookbook lives at my vacation house so I make dishes there while relaxing at the cabin - except for the few that I have memorized such as tasty chicken, bacon, and avocado sandwich or the classic mustard vinaigrette.
The New Basics is such a complete and reliable source for recipes that I never have to pack my cookbooks or recipe folders. In summer, I make the key lime pie and in winter I make the cheese and beer soup. Usually I prefer cookbooks with lots of colorful images, but the blank pages and black and white illustrations are oddly comforting. If you are looking for a cookbook that basically covers everything, I suggest checking this out!